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You now need a ‘D,’ not a ‘C,’ to get an LAUSD diploma

Could lowering graduation standards hurt graduates?
Could lowering graduation standards hurt graduates?
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This week the Los Angeles Unified School District board unanimously agreed to ease high school graduation requirements, no longer requiring a “C” grade or better in college prep classes.

The school board is modifying a commitment made a decade ago to require so-called A-G courses, the classes required to become eligible for University of California and California State University entry, to earn a high school diploma.

Critics reject the idea that a “D” could be a passing grade and say that standard is ultimately failing students. But simply raising the standard to a “C” grade a decade ago didn’t dramatically improve student outcomes: more than 22,000 LAUSD students in the Class of 2017 risked losing out on a diploma they may have been eligible for in a neighboring district or nearby charter school.

Supporters of this week’s move say it’s acknowledging that college isn’t right for everyone and that the LAUSD shouldn’t be penalizing students in the district by holding them to a higher standard than their peers in neighboring districts. Despite that argument, LAUSD has recently cut back on trade school training but is for the first time in several years guaranteeing summer school at every LAUSD school.

What is the value of a high school diploma? And how should LAUSD be preparing students for life after high school?


Annie Gilbertson, KPCC education reporter

Steve Zimmer, LAUSD Board Member, District 4

Maria Brenes,  executive director of the advocacy group InnerCity Struggle